How do I plan for guided reading in kindergarten? Where do I even begin with starting a guided reading routine? If these questions have every crossed your mind, then this post is for you!
Planning for guided reading in kindergarten is a balancing act! Fitting everything in can seem impossible, but I promise you, it’s not!
Our Kindergarten Guided Reading Routine
My guided reading lessons will look a little different based on what level my group is at and what their needs are, but I try to follow this sequence when planning:
I am going to walk you through each part and, at the end, you can grab a free printable to help you plan for your own guided reading groups!
Guided Reading Warm Up
We always start our guided reading groups with a quick warm up. I like to make this as routine as possible.
Students in levels AA-C will have an alphabet chart in front of them. I will say the letter and then the picture and then the sound as they point. They will then repeat after me.
Students in advanced level C and up will follow the same routine, but with a blends and digraphs linking chart instead. Once we have the routine going, this takes only a minute or two and it’s super effective!
When you are planning for your pre-reading activity, consider what your objective for that guided reading session is. If your students are going to be working with a leveled text with a lot of vocabulary, you may use this time to do a picture walk or introduce vocabulary words they will encounter.
If you want your students to work with a decodable text, you might do a mini-lesson to review the phonics skill that is featured in the decodable text. This shouldn’t be a new lesson for them – if your students are going to be using decoding in context while reading, you want to make sure you choose a skill they have been working on.
If you are working with a pre-reading group (level AA), you may focus on a concept of print. This activity from my Level AA unit helps students practice tracking one-to-one:
Why is this the only photo I have for our actual guided reading time? ????
During the reading time, your students will be… reading! For pre-readers, you might all point and choral read together. For guided reading level A and above, students should be reading on their own.
During this time, be conscious of who is doing the work! You will naturally want to help students when they struggle, but the one doing the talking is the one doing the learning.
If a student comes to a word and pauses, first give some wait time and see what they do. If they appeal to you or do nothing, you can prompt:
“What can you try?”
“How can you help yourself?”
“What strategy can you try?”
“Do you see a sound/chunk you know? Try stretching it out.”
This is the part of guided reading in kindergarten when you will work on comprehension. You can ask students questions about the story.
I try to ask a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions. This is more difficult for the lower leveled texts as they are not as meaty, but you can still ask questions meant to help students make connections.
Guided Reading Sight Word Routine
When planning for guided reading in kindergarten, I try to choose only one focus sight word for each lesson. This sight word may also be the focus word for multiple lessons.
You can read more about my guided reading sight word routine here.
Phonics During Guided Reading
During the phonics portion of our lesson, I will either be reviewing a previously introduced skill or teaching a short mini lesson on a new skill. This does not take the place of our whole group phonics lessons – it just enhances that time and allows me to differentiate.
For my pre-reading students, this time will be spent working on phonemic awareness skills like rhyming. We will also work on letter discrimination and letter ID.
My level A and sometimes level B groups will usually be working on letter sounds.
For level C, we are usually working with decoding CVC words.
At level D we will begin working with digraphs.
Guided Writing in Kindergarten
For guided reading levels A and above, my lesson plans are 2 days. We do guided writing on day 2, and then we do not usually do the pre-reading activity on day 2.
You can read more about what guided writing looks like here.
For my pre-readers, we do guided writing daily and we do it together. I use a big sentence strip and choose a simple sentence for us to write together. Students will either take turns writing the words or they will write the first letter of a word and I will write the rest. Then, I cut the sentence up and we mix it, fix it, then read it together.
Planning For Your Guided Reading Groups in Kindergarten
When planning for my guided reading groups in kindergarten, I like to keep it as simple as possible. Each group does have their own lesson plans usually, but I also like to have an “at a glance” page for the week:
This is something that I can just glance at quickly to know what I am doing each day. Now that I am very comfortable teaching guided reading, some weeks this is all I do for my lesson plans!
You can grab the free PDF version of the guided reading lesson planner here.
You can grab the free editable powerpoint version here.
I hope this post was helpful as you begin to plan for your own guided reading groups! Do you have any questions? Leave them below!